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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

An Adaptive Curriculum

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


January 09, 2017

Marc Prensky provides a provocative challenge to schools to rethink our traditional mental models of curriculum which are structured around math, language arts, science, and social studies. His thinking addresses the need to be adaptive for a changing environment as well as examining students as whole persons who are thinking beings. He states,

The far more fundamental reform needed to make education effective for the kids of tomorrow is not HOW we teach what we currently do, but, rather, to changing WHAT we teach –to reforming the world’s core curriculum. Because the world’s context has changed, for our kids to thrive in the future our goals for education must change with it. We can neither adapt to the new context, nor reach our goals, with the curriculum we now have. The entire world today is in need–desperate need–of a wholly new education “core” and set of “basics.”

Prensky makes a strong case for how we are tinkering with the system rather than truly reshaping it for a new future with new learners. He proposes an alternative which we will examine during January. While we are not advocating a position, we are offering food for thought.

The new organization Prensky offers would be to organize kindergarten through secondary curriculum around four key subjects:

Effective Thinking

Effective Action

Effective Relationships

Effective Accomplishment

He suggests these are the skills that all people need in order to be productive and successful in spite of their location, work, or interests. These would be the courses for 13 years as Pensky proposes. Some of the old math, language arts, science and social studies would still be taught as part of these courses, but not all of what we currently do.

What is your first reaction to Prensky’s proposal? How does it fit for the students you serve and the world in which they live? What makes you uncomfortable? What makes sense to you at a gut level?

Source: Prensky, Marc. “The world needs a new curriculum.” Educational Technology. May-June 2014.

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